The curtain drew on the 21st Cyprus Film Days International Festival on Saturday 29 April 2023, with the film The Fishbowl by Puerto Rican director Glorimar Marrero Sanchez winning the Glocal Images Best Film Award.
The screenings and events of this year’s edition were concluded amidst a celebratory atmosphere, with the Awards Ceremony revealing the winners of the Audience Award, the Glocal Images International Competition awards, and the awards of Dot.on.the.Μap Industry Days, the festival’s co-production, training and networking platform.
The film Love Dog directed by Bianca Lucas received two awards, Maha Haj’s Mediterranean Fever won the Authorwave Award, and Andreas’ Kyriacou Au revoir, Slumdogz! received the Audience Award.
The very last film screened at the festival in Limassol was EO, a cinematic hymn to animals, directed by veteran Polish film director Jerzy Skolimowski. The closing ceremony followed immediately after the screening, curated by Dimitris Chimonas and Sessions, and presented by actress and performer Elena Kallinikou.
The festival’s artistic directors, Marios Lizides and Argyro Nicolaou extended their gratitude to all those involved in the implementation of this successful event, as well as to the jury members and the audience for honouring the festival with their presence. The closing ceremony also paid homage to Cypriot actor Dimitris Xystras, who recently passed away, showcasing a selection of photographs of films in which he took part.
The ceremony commenced with an address by Stavros Pamballis, the artistic director of the 9th Cyprus Film Days for Children and Youth, who expressed his enthusiasm about the successful results of the screenings and film workshops for children and youth. Stavros Pamballis highlighted the duty of the film community and of the country itself to ensure that the next generation of filmmakers “maintains a clear vision, unclouded by worries” for as long as possible.
Yet another successful Dot.on.the.map edition
The head of the co-production, training and networking platform Dot.on.the.Μap Industry Days, Danae Stylianou, referred to the results of the platform’s 4th edition. This year’s Dot.on.the.Map brought together in Limassol more than 100 film professionals from 15 countries from Cyprus, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Alongside pitching, the platform also hosted a number of events including information sessions, panel discussions and masterclasses.
The Cyprus Film Commission – Invest Cyprus Award was given to the project When I Close my Eyes I see your Eyes to be directed by Sameh Alaa and produced by Mark Lotfy from Egypt. The jury was “impressed by the filmmaker’s vision as expressed both in his pitch and conversation, as well as the previous work and what it demonstrates as to his ability to create a world full of emotions and meaning, without using words relying instead on a striking cinematic language”. The award, accompanied by the monetary prize of €1,000 was presented by the Chairman of the Cyprus Film Commission, Lefteris Eleftheriou, with producer Mark Lotfy conveying his appreciation via a video.
The P.S. Movies and Stories Award went to the project Checkpoints to be directed by Rita Borodiyanski and produced by Osnat Saraga, from Israel. As the jury stated: “The award goes to the project of a filmmaker whose courage to share her personal story penetrates the essence of the film she wants to make. The jury was captured by a different approach to the conflict that has affected so many lives on both sides of the border, and the willingness and ability to allow herself to empathise with both sides. The jury also commends the originality of the story and its emotional impact, and notes a young filmmaker with lots of potential to come.” The award, accompanied by lighting & grip equipment rental worth up to €4,000 offered by P.S. Movies & Stories Cinema Equipment Rental Ltd, was presented to the winner by Polyvios Symeonides, managing director of the company.
The Best Debut Project Pitch Award, offered by the Directors Guild of Cyprus, went to director Assaf Machnes for the project Available Now produced by Kobi Mizrahi, from Israel. As stated by the jury: “The award goes to a filmmaker who has the ability to confidently convey his vision of his story and convinced the jury of his ability to construct a relevant cinematic universe. The jury would also like to commend his decision to tell a delicate story using a lighter tone but never missing on the humanity of his characters, as well as the fact that he turned a personal experience into a story of much wider significance.” The award, accompanied by the monetary prize of €500, was presented to the winner by Elmos Neocleous, President of the Directors Guild of Cyprus Board.
The AGORA Networking Award – Thessaloniki International Film Festival went to producers Rana Eid and Thomas Micoulet for the project Rabies, to be directed by Sandra Tabet, from Lebanon. As per the jury’s deliberation: “The jury wishes to encourage and commend a project by a young filmmaker who is able to turn her observations of a rough reality into an original genre cinematic piece. We want to support the further development of the project and its foray into the European co production market and offer the chance for the project to be presented to a wider professional network.” The award, which was presented to the director and the co-producer by Angeliki Vergou, Head of Agora – TIFF, includes free market accreditation and accommodation in Thessaloniki.
The Asterisk* Award includes consulting services on the winning project’s financing and marketing strategies worth of €1,400. Offered by Αsterisk* Films and Greek film producer & consultant Vicky Miha, the award went to the project Rabies to be directed by Sandra Tabet and produced by Rana Eid and Thomas Micoulet, from Lebanon. Film producer Vicky Miha who presented and decided upon the award, stated the following: “I would like to give the Asterisk* Award to a project that is daring to deal with its country’s past in a bold metaphorical way. A project unconventional in its intention to talk about a war and the reconciliation that never really took place.”
This year, the three-member international jury of Dot.on.the.Μap Ιndustry Days consisted of producers Amanda Livanou – Neda Film from Greece; Dries Phlypo – A Private View from Belgium; and Veselka Kiryakova – Red Carpet Films, from Bulgaria. In their statement, the jury highlighted the high quality of the selected projects. Their unanimous decisions were defined by the quality of the projects, the abilities of the groups to express their hopes and visions, as well as what the jury itself judged as their ability to bring them about artistically and financially.
The Glocal Images International Competition Awards
The Glocal Images Best Film Award went to the film debut of Puerto Rican filmmaker Glorimar Marrero Sanchez titled The Fishbowl, a production from Spain. According to the jury: “[this was] a standout debut that resonated with audiences at the festival and sparked many conversations among ourselves about cinema’s unique ability to reflect the world that surrounds us. For powerfully depicting a story with local precision yet universal resonance, a film that in parallel movements mirrors the injuries of an individual’s woman’s body marred by sickness and a society harmed socially and ecologically by colonial violence”. The award is accompanied by the amount of €6,000 and was announced by the jury president, Julie Bertucelli. The winning director expressed her appreciation via a video.
The Glocal Images Special Jury Award went to Love Dog, directed by Bianca Lucas, a co-production from Poland, Mexico and USA. The jury was “deeply touched by this multi-layered and atmospherically rich portrait of a young man who, in a fragile personal state and a society experiencing the tremors of crisis, has to find his way to mourn for a loved one. For a film that assembles an impressive cast of unseen faces and voices, for its sensitive imagery, for opening itself up to the volatility of reality, for its skilful combination of emotional directness and courageous ellipses”. Accompanied by the monetary prize of €3000, the award was virtually received by the director via a video.
The Glocal Images Best Director Award also went to Love Dog, by Bianca Lucas. As per the jury’s deliberation, this went to “a promising emerging voice and imaginative work with first-time actors, crafting a film that transcends the border between fiction and documentary; for creating a cinematic idiom that conveys the fractured nature of the complicated process of grieving”. The award is accompanied by the monetary prize of €1,000.
The Authorwave Award went to Mediterranean Fever, directed by Maha Haj, a co-production from Germany, France, Cyprus, Palestine, Qatar, which received funding from the Deputy Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Cyprus. According to the deliberation, the award went to: “a film that leads us into the inner dynamics of a friendship between two neighbours, for an empathetic look at two men whose unusual bond, directed in subtle simplicity opens a darkly comedic landscape, invoking both psychological states and wider social dilemmas”. The award, accompanied by post-production services worth of €4,000 was presented to the winners by Panos Bisdas, chief executive of Authorwave and was received by Marios Piperides, the film’s Cypriot co-producer.
The Audience Award went to Au revoir, Slumdogz!, a Cypriot production directed by Andreas Kyriacou. The award is accompanied by the amount of €500, sponsored by Limassol Municipality, and was presented to the winning director by the Deputy Mayor of Limassol, Neofytos Charalambides.
The Cyprus Film Days Jury was presided by acclaimed French film director Julie Bertuccelli accompanied by talent agent Georg Georgi (Germany); head of Berlinale’s Generation Sebastian Markt; curator of film works at MoMA Sophie Cavoulacos (USA); and Cypriot film director Yianna Americanou.
On behalf of the jury, the president Julie Bertuccelli thanked the organisers for the hospitality and for enabling them to discover emerging talents, “filmmakers who gave a new way of approaching the often-harsh realities of the world around us”.
A closing party with music by Nana took place in the surrounding Rialto Theatre area and on Heroes’ Square. Festival representatives, guests, volunteers and spectators “extended” the duration of this year’s Cyprus Film Days, discussing about the art of Cinema and its future.
Cyprus Film Days renewed its rendez-vous with the cinephile audience in Spring 2024.